Report repairs before making a legal claim

Posted on 21 November 2023

Legal claims by ‘claims farmers’ are on the rise.

Please always report repairs to us first, before considering making a legal claim.

Our warning comes after City of York Council reported that legal claims by ‘claims farmers’ and ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors on behalf of housing tenants, are on the rise.

Unfortunately, some of these disrepair claims have failed and resulted in tenants being left significantly out of pocket. In a recent case, a District Court judge sitting in the York County Court, ordered an unsuccessful claimant to pay over £10,000 in costs.

According to City of York Council, ‘no win, no fee’ legal firms have been targeting tenants to make claims against the council. ‘Claims farmer’ workers have been reported to be going door to door to sign up tenants and encourage them to bring a disrepair claim against their landlord.

Here at Hyde, our customers are urged to always talk to us first about any repairs needed, any delays with repairs or any dissatisfaction with repairs.

Yagazie Nwaigwe, a Senior Solicitor in our Property Services Legal Team said:

Providing decent affordable homes is our priority. We’re committed to supporting our customers by carrying out any repairs for which we’re responsible. If you’re a customer and feel your home needs a repair or if you have a problem with a repair, always contact us straight away.

When dealing with ‘claim farmers’ or ’no win, no fee’ solicitors, customers have to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which entitles the ‘claim farmer’/’no win, no fee’ solicitors to a percentage (usually between 25-50%) of the agreed damages/compensation – and this is in addition to the legal costs. This means that often, the customer is left with very little if any compensation, especially where deductions are made for rent arrears, or any other money owed by the customer to the landlord.

“Whereas, if a customer approaches us directly, then in addition to carrying out the repairs within a reasonable time, we’ll also assess the claim for compensation fairly and make reasonable offers in appropriate circumstances. All the compensation goes to the customer – after deductions for money owed to us.”

If you’re approached by people touting for this work, please:

  • Talk to us first by calling 0800 3 282 282
  • Call the police if you feel scared or threatened
  • Always ask to see identification and check it
  • Read and ensure you understand the terms of any document before signing it
  • Call Trading Standards on 0800 223 1133

Read more about the City of York Council’s report.